Details of violent attacks on Peel Health Campus staff have emerged in state parliament, when Health Minister Roger Cook revealed 11 employees had been assaulted since January.
Under questioning from Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup, whose electorate is serviced by the hospital, Mr Cook said two staff members required blood testing following exposure to body fluids when they were spat on and six staff required medical attention after being hit by patients.
Two doctors, three registered nurses, five security officers and an orderly were assaulted.
Mr Cook condemned the violence.
“Staff have a right to feel safe at work, assaults and threats are completely unacceptable and intolerable,” he said.
“I expect the hospital to respond to staff raising workplace safety concerns quickly, and thoroughly.”
Peel Health Campus chief executive Margaret Sturdy said the hospital was staffed with at least two security personnel around the clock.
“Security and front line staff are trained in the management of aggression, de-escalation and breakaway, as well as restraint as a last resort,” she said.
“A number of the staff injuries occur as a result of elderly sick ‘psychogeriatric’ patients being confused and disorientated and lashing out in unfamiliar circumstances.”
The union that covers many hospital workers, United Voice, said safety in hospitals should be a number one priority.
“Orderlies, security guards, paramedics, doctors and nurses deserve the right to go home safe and sound,” assistant secretary Pat O’Donnell said.
“Workers in hospitals on a daily basis face volatile and unpredictable situations.
“United Voice members have consistently pushed to raise safety standards at Peel Health Campus, and will continue to do so in future.”
Mr O’Donnell said he was concerned the privatisation of health services “takes the focus off workers safety and places it on private profit”.
Mr Kirkup encouraged patients and staff at the hospital to contact him about any incidents at the hospital they were concerned about and called for more resources.
“We have nine vacant nurse positions in the emergency department at the moment,” Mr Kirkup said.
“That’s significant because we have increased drug use, meth, crime going through the roof.
“And I’m not surprised there is a correlated level of assaults on staff there as well.”